Moss not at practice; Cunningham returns

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Randy Moss was not spotted at the start of the Patriots' Wednesday practice, leaving the team thin at receiver as Julian Edelman also remains out of practice.

Running back Laurence Maroney also was held out of the full-pads practice.

While those absences were notable, so too were the returns of outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, defensive end Ron Brace and cornerback Kyle Arrington.

Cunningham, a second-round draft choice out of Florida, missed all four preseason games after getting tangled up with a Saints player in joint practices Aug. 11. Trainers were looking at his lower leg that day, and Wednesday marked his first practice since sustaining the injury.

Cunningham's return is important given some of the questions the team has at outside linebacker, with veteran Derrick Burgess released on Saturday. While Tully Banta-Cain is a starter on one side, the other outside linebacker spot in the 3-4 alignment will either be manned by Rob Ninkovich (5th year, 0 career starts), Marques Murrell (4th year, 0 career starts) or Cunningham.

Meanwhile, Brace injured his ankle in the Aug. 26 preseason game against the Rams, while Arrington -- who tied for the lead in special teams tackles last season -- had been slowed by a groin injury.

Media members were present for stretching and agility drills.